Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Avian Acrobats

It's a newly fledged family of white-breasted nuthatches. I'm sure of it. Black-topped heads, long beaks, bluish wing and back feathers---and fluffy, like yesterday's titmouse. The siblings must be eight, though hard to count for their acrobatic jumping and flipping around in the dogwood. They drew my attention from the housewrens by their squeak-pitched whee-he-he-he-he-he's, descending from one location high above the swing, in the pin oak tree. I couldn't see them at first---then the pin oak and dogwood branches filled up with their flitting and darting and leaping and dropping and whee-he-he-ing.

The housewrens, btw, are still tending their quiet house on nestwatch day #23.

Was I witnessing the first fledge of the family nuthatch? It moved within 2-3 minutes from a single locus of sound to a surround-sound effect, as if spilling into the trees from the nest. I had a front row seat at the circus ring, until one by one, the squeaky siblings followed each other across the yard to the holly trees on the other side of the fence. There they offered a thrilling act of high-wire stunts. I followed and watched from the deck. One of them, a clown, performed a free-fall on a plumb line to the slate patio below, without wing flutter, but soft upright landing. Does she know I feared for her life? I watched her antics in the holly until rain drove me inside. Where will my young nuthatches find shelter? dkm

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is my first visit here, but I will be back soon, because I really like the way you are writing, it is so simple and honest